Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Saudi Prince and a Murderer

The Prince on Trial


John Kelsey-Fry
John Kelsey-Fry
John Kelsey-Fry, who is one of the UK's most respected criminal lawyers, led Al Saud's defense team. Prior to defending Al Saud, John Kelsey-Fry had managed several high-profile cases. He had been involved with the defense of the champion jockey Kieren Fallon, who had been accused of fixing races, and had worked on the defense of Jane Andrews, who had been the Duchess of York's dresser and close aide before killing her boyfriend. Kelsey-Fry has also represented Sharon Osbourne and Sharon Stone in libel cases.

Adept—and certainly very expensive—lawyering skills on retainer also likely accounted for Al Saud's deportment throughout the court proceedings. According to those at the trial, Al Saud showed little or no emotion throughout the court proceedings. He did not flinch or seem to react to the horrific details of Mr. Abdulaziz's death presented by the prosecution.

It seemed to be the intention of the defense to make Al Saud look as unthreatening to the jury as they could. UK defense attorneys, like their U.S. counterparts, can spend a lot of time coaching their clients on how to carry themselves and look and act during the trial of a criminal case. But even without very expensive coaching, Al Saud's small stature alone would have made him look seem an unlikely murderer. He certainly did not look like the monster the jury saw in the video maliciously striking his companion during his ugly and very violent outbursts of anger.

Court artist's sketch of Al Saud during the trial
Court artist's sketch of Al Saud during
the trial
"He had a delicate face and features and was not a big guy, by any means. He didn't look the part of a murderer," Priscilla Coleman, a courtroom artist who attended the trial, said. "He just had this other side, which became apparent on the video evidence."

Al Saud's father and brother flew from Saudi Arabia for the trial in a show of support for Al Saud. It was obvious to court observers that the father was well attended as well. "His father had an entourage with him when he came and went up in the public gallery," Coleman said. "You could tell the other people with him helped him find his seat and take his coat off and get settled."

The father didn't show much emotion, either, throughout much of the trial. "He just seemed stoic most of the time," Coleman said. "But he certainly stared at his son much of the time. Some people thought it was sad that [Al Saud] hardly ever returned his father's look."

Al Saud did stare back at his father one time, Coleman said. That was when the prince was being led down to the cells. Despite his father's status and money, there was nothing he could do for his wayward son.

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